A promise by Israeli leaders to ‘punish’ Palestinians for electing the Islamic Resistance party, Hamas, in Jan. 25th legislative elections, appears to be coming to fruition as ongoing invasions and aerial attacks on Palestinian areas have resulted in the deaths of 31 Palestinians, and 74 Palestinians injured since the elections.
Still, the monthly total for February has not reached the average of 59 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces each month since September 2000. The most Palestinians killed in a single month during the last five years was in April 2002, when 245 Palestinians were killed, mainly civilians killed in a massive attack on Jenin refugee camp which Palestinians have termed the ‘Jenin Massacre’.
3,813 Palestinians have been killed in the last five years, and 29,469 injured (figures are from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, compiled from hospital records). In the same time period, over 900 Israelis have been killed — mainly soldiers killed in skirmishes with Palestinian resistance fighters (figures from Israeli government). Some were killed by Palestinian bombings in civilian areas in Israel, a practice which used to be part of Hamas’ strategy. Since Hamas agreed to a ceasefire last February with Israel, they have carried out no bombings in Israeli civilian areas.
Dennis Ross, a former envoy to the Middle East during the Clinton administration and now director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said in 2003 that the road map for peace is an illusion — not because of Palestinian violence, but due to ongoing Israeli expansion including home demolitions, olive grove destruction, wall construction and massive Israeli military violence against people and property in Palestine.
He said, "The road map to peace exists on paper, but not in reality".
Meanwhile, Israeli attacks Sunday on both the Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank and Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip resulted in at least four killed and dozens injured.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has said that by voting for Hamas, the Palestinian people have made their government part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ along with Syria and Iran, and said that "punitive measures" would be taken by Israeli forces against all the Palestinian people.